BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Through programming on all of its campuses, Indiana University will mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a number of events that honor the ongoing legacy of the late civil rights leader.
Since 1997, IU has canceled classes on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to allow the community to celebrate King’s work and gather for a number of university activities. This year will be no different, with events being held throughout IU’s campuses that will celebrate King’s legacy and offer volunteering opportunities to give back to their communities.
“I am so glad to start our spring semester off celebrating the life and impact of our country’s foremost civil rights leader,” said James C. Wimbush, vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs, dean of The University Graduate School, and Johnson Chair for Diversity and Leadership. “Whether through the IUnity Summit, the Leadership Breakfast or the volunteering events held throughout our campuses, IU will make one thing clear on Jan. 21: the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. is alive and well.”
The IU Bloomington campus will begin the day’s celebrations with the 2019 Leadership Breakfast. Sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs and the Office of the Provost, the breakfast will gather a diverse group of people to recognize the ways King’s legacy endures today. Tamika Catchings, an Olympic medal-winning former WNBA basketball player, philanthropist and Indianapolis small-business owner, will serve as the keynote speaker for the event. Catchings, who has found success on and off the court, will share her personal experiences of overcoming adversity and supporting others.
During the breakfast, the university will also recognize recipients of the Building Bridges Award, given to those who carry on the spirit of King’s words and deeds in the community.
The ongoing legacy of King will also be recognized during the IUnity Summit, an event sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs that takes place from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Indiana Memorial Union’s Alumni Hall. Presented by the Cross-Cultural Programming Board and formerly known as the Unity Summit, the IUnity Summit will engage participants with group activities that spark critical dialogue about identity, difference and systematic discrimination. The summit is free and open to the community.
Celebrations of King’s legacy will also take place on IU’s other campuses. Events held throughout the state include:
IUPUI: On Jan. 20, IUPUI will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its longstanding Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Dinner. Tracy Martin, activist, author and father of Trayvon Martin, will be the keynote speaker.
IU East: In a partnership with Ivy Tech Community College, IU East will host “The Movement: 50 Years of Love and Struggle.” The theatrical production featuring Emmy Award-winning actor Ron Jones examines the 50 years that have passed since the civil rights movement. The production will take place at 6 p.m. Jan. 22 in Stidham Auditorium at Ivy Tech’s Johnson Hall.
IU Southeast: The Office of Volunteer Programs and the Office for Campus Life will host the MLK Day of Service from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 21. Lunch and transportation to volunteering locations throughout the community will be provided. Volunteers can RSVP for the event on the IU Southeast events web page.
IU Kokomo: In a partnership with the Omicron Phi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, IU Kokomo will celebrate MLK Day with a performance of “MLK and the Strength of Shared Dreams,” presented by Ron Jones. The performance will take place at 6 p.m. Jan. 23 in Kresge Auditorium.
The events taking place on Martin Luther King Jr. Day will complement a central hallmark of the holiday’s celebrations: an emphasis on volunteering. On each of IU’s campuses, students, faculty and staff will have dozens of opportunities to get involved and make a difference in their communities. Such initiatives encourage the community to see Martin Luther King Jr. Day not as “a day off but as “a day on” – a time to reconnect with community and embrace King’s legacy of public service.